HARTSVILLE, S.C. – It's safe to say that most members of the Coker women's basketball team will feel out of their comfort zone this Sunday when the Cobras go to famed Cameron Indoor Stadium to take on powerhouse Duke University. The exception might be junior guard and Durham, N.C., native Hailey Yohn.
Yohn played superbly last year against the University of Tennessee, scoring a team-high of 15 points, but this year's Division I exhibition has a little different feeling. This is almost like a homecoming.
"I've grown up around the Duke basketball program," Yohn said. "I have been to and worked their basketball camps, grown up with the players, and I know the whole team now."
Yohn is especially close with one Blue Devil: junior guard Jenna Frush. Yohn and Frush were teammates while at Northern High School in Durham.
"To play against my best friend on a college level is truly special," Yohn said. "It's really cool to get to play against Jenna on Duke's court, because we grew up going to camps there. She chose to go there because that was her dream school, and I ventured off to Coker, and now we are meeting up again at the same place where we started."
This will be the first time Yohn and Frush have played on the same court since high school. In fact, this is the first time they will be playing each other on opposing teams.
"Seeing her on the other bench in a different uniform is going to be interesting," said Yohn. "I am used to having her as the point guard right beside me."
The two live just seven minutes apart and have been friends since the first grade. They've always been competitive against one another, and that should be the case when they hit the court Sunday.
"Jenna, the other players and some of the staff have been talking a little junk since I went home for the summer," said Yohn. "It should be a lot of fun out there."
Yohn views this game not only as a chance to shine on a bigger stage, but also as an opportunity to shine in front of a crowd that hasn't seen her play in years.
"My family from all over will be there, plus my high school coaches, friends, teachers and other people from Durham too," said Yohn. "To have all my supporters there that I have grown up with - it's amazing."
Yohn has been able to go back to Durham once before and play, against Division I North Carolina Central University. But this is Duke, Cameron Indoor Stadium, full of national title banners, retired jerseys and basketball history around every turn. It's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, especially for a die-hard Duke fan like Yohn.
"To play in that atmosphere, especially with my teammates and in my hometown, is unreal," said Yohn. "Playing in a game like this is something I never thought would happen. I can't wait to step on that court with my team and represent Coker."
Story written by athletics media relations intern Aaron Beebe '15.
Coker College readies undergraduates for personal and professional success through a distinctive four-year program that emphasizes a practical application of the liberal arts as well as hands-on and discussion-based learning within and beyond the classroom. Coker is ranked among the "Best Colleges" in the South byU.S. News & World Report as well as The Princeton Review. Located in Hartsville, S.C., Coker is within two hours of the cultural, financial and recreational resources of Charlotte, Columbia, Charleston and Myrtle Beach.